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Rotterdam buys land for new highway garage

Rotterdam buys land for new highway garage

Location will have room for building and sand and salt storage
Rotterdam buys land for new highway garage
The Rotterdam Highway Department on Route 7 is pictured on April 27.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

ROTTERDAM -- The town is buying just over 8 acres off Van Roll Drive for a new highway complex.

The Town Board last week agreed to pay $492,000 for the property at Campbell Road and Van Roll Drive, roughly opposite the town's sewage treatment plant on Campbell Road. The town will pay for the purchase with available funds.

The land is owned by Timothy Larned and Go-Ahead Realty, both of Rotterdam. Town officials disclosed earlier that they were negotiating for the site, which is close to other public works facilities overseen by the highway superintendent.

"The attractiveness of the property for the town is its proximity to the sewer plant and to the water maintenance facility," said Town Supervisor Steven A. Tommasone.

In April, town Highway Superintendent Larry Lamora went public with his concerns that the current garage on Duanesburg Road (Route 7)  is inadequate -- major road equipment needs to be stored outside at that location, and there is no room for salt and sand sheds, Lamora said. He estimated the current garage is on less than 2 acres of land and is bordered by residential properties.

"The highway operation may not look like a complex operation, but it is a complex operation," Tommasone said. "Right now, most of our vehicles are parked outside. That is not a good situation for preserving them as long as possible."

Tommasone said the town hopes not to have to install gas tanks at the site, given its proximity to the Mohawk River and aquifer recharge zone. Instead, he hopes the town can negotiate a deal to buy gas and diesel fuel from Schenectady County, which has its public works headquarters on Kellar Avenue in Rotterdam.

LaMora previously spoke in favor of the Larned site.

"It's a perfect location," he said in. "It's industrially zoned. It's got the industrial park right behind it and the sewer plant next door. There really aren't many residences around it."

Tommasone said the town's leaf and brush transfer station, located on private property owned by Larned, could be moved to the new site this fall. Town trucks are allowed to bring material to the site, but residents can't take material there directly as they once did.

The town is also anticipating building a salt storage shed at the new site, pending the results of a state grant application. Construction of a highway garage, however, will need to wait until design studies are done.

The town plans to sell the Duanesburg Road property once the garage is moved; the parcel was recently appraised at roughly $500,000.

Also at last week's Town Board meeting, the board agreed to pay $75,000 for the former Bobby Young's Auto property at 1220 Main St. in Rotterdam Junction. A state grant is covering $48,000 of the cost.

The property, which has fallen into disrepair and has contamination from its use as an auto repair shop, is near town-owned drinking water wells. Tommasone said the town is buying it to reduce the risk of future contamination.

"This property needs to be cleaned up," Tommasone said. "We are protecting our water."

He said the town hopes for financial assistance from the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority for cleanup and demolition of the building, which together he estimated will cost about $100,000. Once the property is clean, Tommasone hopes it can become a park.

Reach Daily Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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